Sun. Jan 17th, 2021

Hispanic voters have become the largest minority in the United States this year for the first time With their 32 million people with the right to vote 133 of the total US electorate they have exceeded the number of registered African Americans according to calculations by the Pew Research Center

And the number does not stop growing Each year around 800000 citizens who are children of immigrants or of Latin American descent are included in the voter census and the majority of those who will vote in the next elections on November 3 are under 35 years old

It is an important group to achieve the presidency of the country with a presence in key states for the electionand whom both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are trying to conquer But there are still false beliefs about their behavior

Traditionally the Latino vote has been conceived as a bloc that is as citizens who share the same political interests and therefore tend to vote for the same party

Also that they generally support the Democrats for issues such as access to education and health or opportunities for social advancement although there is a certain fear in Joe Bidens party of falling below expectations in this group in territories like Florida

It is also often taken for granted that their main concern is immigration issues and that they also tend to vote less All these myths installed for decades in the American collective imagination have been dismantled over the years

The block vote

On the first point the founder of the association to promote the Hispanic vote Mi Familia Vota Ben Monterroso a Guatemalan immigrant who has been fighting for Latino representation for more than 40 years in the United States explains why the uniformity of the vote no longer makes sense

The first thing to do is distinguish between the Latinos who came to this country and those who were born here he says Seven in 10 are second and third generation born in the United States with an immigrant parent or with parents also born in the United States according to census figures

Among the total of Latinos with the right to vote in the country 59 are Mexican 14 are Puerto Rican 5 of Cuban origin and 22 of other Hispanic origins according to 2016 figures presented by Pew Research Center

And although it may seem that they seek the same end this belief does not match the results at the polls

Hispanic voters in California have since the 1990s given clear support to Democrats while Cuban migrants and descendants have traditionally voted for the Republican Party

Until 2019 according to the agencys figures 65 of Puerto Ricans and 59 of Mexicans supported the Democratic Party contrasting with the support of Cubans for this party only 37

The statistics for these elections point to a 73 dynamic Three in 10 would vote Republicans and seven Democrats according to Latino Decisions polls

They are all Democrats

Trump won the White House after insulting and criminalizing an entire community calling its members rapists and murderers and promising to build a wall between Mexico and the United States After that campaign the support of Hispanics was almost 30

In previous elections George W Bush broke a record of Latino support with 40 in the 2004 elections Analysts fear that although the Republican Party appears to have distanced itself from Latino voters in these years with the Trump Administration Democrats have failed to capitalize on it

California didnt change overnight we changed California says Monterroso Before 1994 it was a presumably Republican state but after Gov

Pete Wilsons Proposition 187 proposal against migration I was born politically Those years we organized We have turned the attacks on the Latino community into instruments to motivate our people to participate

Today in Arizona those young people that I saw in 2010 fighting against another conservative proposal are fighting and can change the reality of the State explains the activist

Migration your main concern

Census data explains that the vast majority are not immigrants much less undocumented 75 were born in the United States so their concerns are more like those of any other citizen

It is one of the myths because with that they say that we are all undocumented but we are 60 million people and the majority have documents and can vote says Monterroso

Before the pandemic the majority of registered Latino voters had expressed interest in raising the minimum wage creating stricter laws on gun ownership and greater government involvement in access to healthcare according to a national survey from the Pew Research Center

The immigration issue worries and bothers us because we see our pasts and we see the separation of families the treatment they are given But the most important issues are the economy education health the environment and yes an immigration reform later Because almost 80 of us have an acquaintance or relative who arrived undocumented explains Monterroso

The sleeping giant

Participation at the polls since the 1980s has traditionally been low compared to other groups Latino Decisions points out that while more than 60 of the white or African American population turn out to vote Latinos only do so by 48

The number of Latinos who could and did not vote has exceeded the number who did vote in every presidential election since 1996 said the Pew Research Center

Some elements that have affected participation are as they list the youth of the electorate almost a million Americans of Latino origin turn 18 each year the need for more efforts by the States to promote electoral registration and the Candidates approach to the Latino community

There is always talk of the sleeping giant But he is not asleep he has always been working explains Monterroso

The activist looks hopeful to 2024 That year two electoral processes will coincide that of Mexico and that of the United States and taking into account that 60 of the Latino electorate is Mexican it is possible that a greater number of voters will mobilize

Although we are not a uniform community we come from places where politics is not something unfortunately and I speak in general that we see as a solution on the contrary sometimes as a problem

And hence much of the indifference But if that year many more are involved in the electoral processes there may be a change in dynamics says Monterroso I hope that in 2024 we will see the fruits of what we have been working on May it be the year of the Latinos he adds

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